Illinois Supreme Court Approves Supreme Court Rule 293
The decision to approve this rule stems from years of confusion and debate. Recognizing the serious rights at stake in cases such as In re James W., 2014 IL 114483, and In re Rita P., 2014 IL 115798, the Court asked its Special Advisory Committee for Justice and Mental Health Planning to study the matter and recommend solutions. Rule 293 was proposed by the Committee to clarify and make mandatory the time limit trial courts have to convene juries in mental health involuntary commitment hearings.
The importance of creating one uniform rule for the state cannot be understated. It recognizes the importance of fundamental liberty interests; provides one consistent standard for judges to make clear, concise, and complete findings of fact; and provides guidelines to judges who lack experience in these types of case. Chief Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier explained, "The Court is confident that the new rule will provide much needed guidance to the courts and officials charged with enforcing the orders and, in so doing, ensure full and proper protection of the fundamental liberty interests of citizens facing involuntary admission or treatment for mental health issues.”
The Court also approved four standardized mental health orders and a uniform Illinois State Police order related to such proceedings.